The Untold Truth Of The Super Switch

The Super Switch, described as a super-sized version of "Australia's most daring relationship experiment," made its debut on Australian television in June 2019.

In The Super Switch, couples left their respective spouses and lived in "an experimental relationship with a total stranger," with the pairings living together in two separate houses in order to share the experience. "Participants will be paired with a like-minded stranger who will hold up a mirror to their own behavior, prompting them to question whether the grass is greener elsewhere," explained the series description. This, of course, forced participants to determine whether their relationships could survive. At the end of the experiment, the original couples reunited with their partners in order to decide whether they'd remain together or split up.

Even though the series was one of Australia's most talked-about reality shows, there's a lot about the series that wasn't shown on the small screen. Keep reading to learn the untold truth of The Super Switch.

The Super Switch is a spinoff of an Australian TV hit

It all began in 2015, when the FYI Network launched Seven Year Switch, a reality show that saw couples switch spouses in an attempt to save their respective marriages (via Variety). The U.S. series ran for three seasons, eventually moving from FYI to the Lifetime network for its final season, as reported by TheWrap

In March 2016, Australia's Channel Seven launched its own version of Seven Year Switch, in which "four couples in strife ... put their relationships to the test as they participate in an experimental marriage with a total stranger," as noted by TV Tonight. As Forbes reported, the show's Aussie premiere delivered 1.3 million viewers, leading Channel Seven director of production Brad Lyons to declare, "We are very happy with the performance: No. 2 in all key demos and No. 2 entertainment show for the night ... You could not ask for more than that."

While Australia's Seven Year Switch was canceled after the second season, producers put out a casting notice for new couples in 2018. This was followed by news of plans to reboot the show in a "super-sized" version dubbed The Super Switch.

The Super Switch was a ratings catastrophe

The Super Switch made its long-awaited, heavily hyped debut on June 11, 2019, introducing Australian viewers to the six couples brave enough to "say goodbye to their loved ones to live in an experimental relationship with a total stranger."

While Channel Seven was apparently hoping to recapture the same viewers who had made the then-recent sixth season of Married At First Sight, a similarly themed reality showa ratings hit, this was not to be. Not only were ratings for The Super Switch not good, but they were downright catastrophic. As Australia's The New Daily reported, the show only attracted 481,000 viewers — about a third of the total viewers who watched The Voice on a rival channel. In fact, of the five shows aired during that time slot on Australia's five major TV networks, The Super Switch came in last.

"Maybe people are just getting sick of watching other people fight and flirt at dinner parties," a "TV industry insider" told The New Daily, while a Channel Seven spokesperson admitted the ratings "were less than expected." Still, that representative expressed confidence that those numbers would grow.

The Super Switch was downgraded to one night a week

The original plan for The Super Switch was to air the show twice a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. After the first two episodes, however, Channel Seven decided to downgrade the show to once a week due to its lousy ratings. As Mumbrella reported in June 2019, going forward, the show would only be airing on Wednesdays.

The network tried to downplay the ratings disaster it had unleashed. While admitting the ratings for the debut were disappointing, a Channel Seven spokesperson tried to put a slightly more positive spin on the numbers, insisting to The New Daily that ratings are "not the most accurate guide to the performance of a whole series these days — especially in the reality genre which lends itself to binge watching on demand."

In fact, the spokesperson optimistically contended that Channel Seven fully hoped the ratings would grow as the show progressed. "We have a great cast, and the evolution of the couples makes for good viewing on any platform," the spokesperson explained. "In the end it's all about the storytelling and this program will deliver it spectacularly over the course of the series."

The Super Switch got bumped off the main network

The network's optimism that ratings for The Super Switch would improve proved to be wildly off target. Despite Channel Seven's fervent hopes, ratings did not grow; in fact, the show failed to crack the top 20, according to TV Blackbox

By early July 2019, in an apparent effort to stop the bleeding, TV Tonight reported that the network made a decision to remove the show from its flagship channel and dump the remaining episodes on its digital channel 7flix. The Channel Seven-owned 7flix is primarily a destination for old movies and assorted TV reruns — decidedly not the place where a hit show would be aired. It was, however, seen as the ideal place to try to bury a flop, allowing the season to continue its run without cancellation — and without dragging down Channel Seven's ratings.

As for why viewers stayed away from The Super Switch, well, they made their voices heard on social media. As the Daily Mail reported, viewers found the show "disgusting" and "immoral." One viewer wrote, "Setting people up to help them cheat on their partners and broadcasting it on prime time TV. It's not a social experiment — it's taking advantage of vulnerable people."

The Super Switch couples went into "meltdown mode" when the ratings tanked

Channel Seven network executives weren't the only ones disappointed by The Super Switch's rotten ratings. According to the Daily Mail, the cast of The Super Switch was not happy. As the publication pointed out, the couples appearing on the show had hoped to become reality stars, and the series' failure pretty much derailed those plans. "They expected the show to be as huge as Married at First Sight, so when the ratings came in some of the cast members had a meltdown," a "production source" told the Daily Mail Australia. "It was a very rude awakening for some of them to see that they weren't going to be famous or gain thousands of Instagram followers."

The Daily Mail's source continued by revealing that one member of the cast was irate enough to write an angry letter to the network. "'They said that they wanted more screen time and complained that Seven hadn't promoted the show enough," the source revealed. The insider, however, pointed out that the network had actually promoted the show quite heavily with "billboards and ads everywhere" while advertising "the show continuously with TV spots." The source said, "They couldn't have promoted The Super Switch more if they tried."

One participant on The Super Switch also appeared on The Bachelorette

Ben Lyall was one of the participants on The Super Switch, appearing with girlfriend Christie Cassar to put their relationship to the test. His face, however, was a familiar one to fans of reality TV in Australia. That's because he had previously appeared as a suitor on the Down Under version of The Bachelorette in 2016.

As the Daily Mail reported at the time, Lyall made a memorable first impression when he first met Bachelorette Georgia Love — albeit not in a good way — when he confessed to doing "three nervous poos already" before meeting her. That was probably not what Love wanted to hear from a potential boyfriend, and his journey didn't last long. He never received a single rose, and he was sent home in the first week.

In an interview with Now to Love, Lyall shared the important lesson about reality television he learned on The Bachelorette that he was planning to take with him to The Super Switch. "Maybe don't go on and let the first line I talk about is poo," he joked.

One Super Switch contestant defended his controversial comments

What The Super Switch may have lacked in viewership, it more than made up for in controversy. The very first episode, as reported by Now to Love, introduced couple Justin Ryland and Neesha Macleod, with Ryland generating backlash from the get-go thanks to some wildly sexist remarks he made about his significant other. When he received some texts from Macleod while out with male friends, he was asked how the relationship was going. "Same old mate. You know what it's like. Typical female. They carry on, whinge, nag..." He added, "Jeez she does my head in!"

Speaking with the magazine, Ryland defended his remarks. "It's a blokey thing to say I guess," he said. "When you're with the boys — it's just a typical thing to say when you're with the guys." He also claimed that his comments were justified. "It depends on the situation," he said. "I mean, it's how you're feeling at the time and you've been given a little bit of freedom and then you're being hounded."

Sharp-eyed fans discovered this epic editing fail in The Super Switch

The Super Switch star Justin Ryland stirred up controversy with the comments he made about the texts he received from girlfriend Neesha Macleod. However, that same incident created even further controversy thanks to some sharp-eyed viewers who noticed something odd about that particular scene. As Now to Love reported, fans of the show who took a closer look noticed that, when Ryland brandished his phone, no texts were shown. Instead, the phone's lock screen could clearly be seen.

Did that mean that Macleod never sent those texts? Or perhaps she had, but the scene was re-enacted by the show's stars? That was never made clear, but a later scene may have held a clue. In that scene, Macleod and Ryland are together in a bedroom, and she tells him, "You probably carry on to your friends like, 'Oh, she won't leave me alone, she keeps messaging me,' but it's not like that at all!" So it'd seem these scenes may have been manufactured for the show.

One Super Switch couple had a "huge fight" right before going on the show

One of the couples to appear on The Super Switch was Aimee Hope and Marcus Weston. In an interview with New Idea, Weston confessed that he had been desperate to land on a reality TV show before he met Hope. "I went on a binge of applying for everything to find love," he said. "I went through Married at First Sight, The Bachelor and I did auditions and all that stuff. I was nearly on Sophie Monks' [Bachelorette] season." Once he met Hope, however, he "wasn't interested in anything like that."

Surprisingly, it was Hope who applied to be on The Super Switch. "I just thought it would be something different," she told the Jesse & Juelz with Sian show, revealing they had a "huge fight" the night before they were about to start filming. "He walked out of the house, well, I might have kicked him out, I can't remember," she shared, explaining they "weren't actually technically together" when they started the show. "I think just the fact that we'd gone into it in a bad spot ... made it even harder for us because we didn't know how the other person was feeling."

Phones keep getting Super Switch stars in trouble

While Justin Ryland created controversy from reading texts from his cellphone, a phone also got The Super Switch's Ben Lyall into some serious trouble, after police caught him using his phone while driving. In fact, that's far from Lyall's only driving-related issue with the police. According to the Illawarra Mercury, Lyall had received a jaw-dropping 39 tickets for a variety of violations since 2002.

As the newspaper reported, Lyall had been busted for speeding — nine times — and caught "performing burnouts" five times. In addition, he's been ticketed for following another vehicle too closely (twice) and driving negligently, along with several other infractions. Lyall ultimately wound up in court, facing a magistrate after being charged with driving while his license was suspended. When officers pulled him over and asked to see his license, he reportedly confessed, "I'll be honest with you, I don't have one."

The magistrate fined Lyall $500 and prohibited him from getting behind the wheel for three months. "Your driving history doesn't help you," scolded the magistrate when handing down his ruling. "There's a reason why the RMS [Roads and Maritime Services] took you off the road."

This Super Switch star made even more controversial remarks

When it came to generating controversy by making sexist remarks, The Super Switch's Justin Ryland proved to be the gift that kept on giving. Following the backlash over his on-air quip about partner Neesha Macleod, he appeared on Australia's The Morning Show and said something equally — if not more — offensive.

As the Daily Mail reported, Ryland shared his views on women returning to the workplace after having children. "When we have kids, I would like her to be there and not go through childcare," said Ryland. "I want to be the provider, I guess. My father has always been like that as well. I have just always wanted to be like that."

He did, however, demonstrate just enough self-awareness to realize why people would maybe not be on board with that particular viewpoint in 2019. "In this day and age, I guess it's not the right way to go about it," he added.

The show's psychologist defended this aspect of The Super Switch

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of The Super Switch was the show's sleeping arrangements. With the newly minted faux couples each sharing a bed, concerns arose over the temptation that could result from those cozy bedroom pairings. However, the show's consulting psychologist, Jacqui Manning, shared her belief that if a couple's relationship is on solid ground, that shouldn't be an issue — and, if something were to happen, something similar would have probably happened anyhow. 

"I guess that's always a risk, isn't it? But if someone was to go down that path, I think that danger would have always been there," Manning told News.com.au. She also insisted that it's important for couples to state their own definitions of what constitutes cheating so that everyone can be on the same page. "For someone it could be texting someone too intimately, another person they might not be troubled if someone kisses someone, but they would if they had sex with someone," she elaborated. "Everyone has got their own dealbreakers in a relationship and I think if your partner was going to challenge those they would do that inside or outside the experiment."

This Super Switch moment left viewers utterly creeped out

While The Super Switch's Justin Ryland stirred up controversy with words, his co-star Ben Lyall managed to do it with, um, interesting styles of underwear, as noted by New IdeaIn the show's very first episode, the former contestant of the Australian version of The Bachelorette modeled racy undergarments for horrified girlfriend Christie Cassar. Was she turned on? Not likely, given that her response was the very unsexy, "No! Get it off, you creep!" 

According to the Daily Mail, what viewers saw on television was only the tip of the iceberg, revealing Channel Seven subsequently released "bonus content" featuring "several gratuitous shots of the 34-year-old's bare derriere in jockstraps and a variety of bizarre G-strings."

Viewers were about as impressed as Cassar, reported the Mail, and took to social media to share their opinions. "Why is nobody asking why he has so many of these in the first place?" asked one viewer, while another wrote, "You should be ashamed Channel Seven for producing such a low moral show. It disgusts me."

Here's where some of the Super Switch couples ended up

Given The Super Switch's positioning as a "daring relationship experiment," the experiment could be deemed mostly successful. According to PopSugar's look at the couples' social media in August 2019, two-thirds of the couples have remained together. Lachlan Petch and Miranda Van Lieshout were seemingly still going strong, as were Kendrick Jefferson and Romina Anaquin, whose joint Instagram account indicated they were still a couple. 

Ben Lyall and Christie Cassar were likewise together, with Cassar revealing on Instagram that they bought a house together. Justin Ryland and Neesha Macleod were also still coupled, with Macleod sharing an Instagram post of the pair celebrating Christmas 2019 together. Marcus Weston and Aimee Hope seemed to be together after the show, but were apparently playing coy until Hope finally revealed on Instagram that they had "ended [their] relationship," insisting the decision to part ways was "mutual."

Tyler Franko and Olga Tori also appeared to have split, although no formal announcement was made. However, his Instagram account featured numerous shots of himself solo in a variety of exotic locales, while her Instagram featured photos of herself getting cozy with a new man.